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Police say no breakthrough in murder probe

Jan 28 (ML) The four police investigating teams appointed to probe into the assassination of The Sunday Leader Editor-in-Chief, Lasantha Wickrematunge, have failed to make a breakthrough for the past 19 days, The Morning Leader learns. Police Spokesperson SSP Ranjith Gunasekera told The Morning Leader yesterday that although there was no breakthrough till last evening, they are expecting to receive a ‘reliable clue’ today (28). more..

Accept Rajapaksa’s invitation: Swamy

Jan 28 (Hindu) Janata Party president Subramanian Swamy on Tuesday said that Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi should accept the invitation of Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa to visit Jaffna and Wanni and appeal to the LTTE to release civilians. In a release here, he said that since Mr. Karunanidhi often talked about Tamils being killed, it was necessary for him to accept the invitation to free them.

Western PC to be dissolved today

Jan 28 (ML) The government is to dissolve the Western Provincial Council at midnight today (28), it is learnt. Western Province Governor Alavi Moulana told The Morning Leader that the Western PC would be dissolved at midnight today. He also said there is a possibility of the dissolution of the Southern and Uva Provincial Councils as well. According to Moulana, the dissolution of the three remaining PCs was to take place in December, but was postponed due to unavoidable circumstances. more..

'Disappointing that Mukherjee made no commitment on ceasefire'

Jan 28 (PTI) PMK today said it was"disappointing"to see that External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee made no commitment on a ceasefire ahead of his two-day visit to Sri Lanka, where he is expected to discuss a political solution to the ethnic problem with the leaders of the island nation. "It is disappointing he has not said anything on pressing the Sri Lankan government for a ceasefire," PMK founder Dr S Ramadoss said in a statement here. more..

Administering people’s needs before politicized political solutions

Jan 28 (AT) With the fall of Mullaitivu, the last of the rebel held towns it is timely to look forward critically but positively. The LTTE of the 1980s is certainly not the LTTE of present day. The Tamil people who backed the LTTE in the 1980s do not do so now. LTTE cadres enthusiastically joined the movement in the 1980s – today conscription is by force and even resorting to kidnapping. more..

Foreign Minister urged European Union to view developments in Sri Lanka

Jan 28 (AT) Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has called upon the European Union to view developments in Sri Lanka and the Tamil diaspora within a post –LTTE paradigm which better reflect the new ground realities in Sri Lanka and to become partners in Sri Lanka’s post-conflict development. The Minister made this call when he met the European Commissioner responsible for External Relations and European Neighbourhood Policy Benita Ferrero-Waldner, and more..

Churches pray for unity to overcome challenges

Jan 28 (UCAN) Meeting during the Week of Prayer for Christian Unity, Christian Churches prayed they could overcome mutual challenges including an anti-conversion bill and the ongoing violence in Sri Lanka. At this crucial time we need unity," Catholic Bishop Valence Mendis of Chilaw stated during the Jan. 19 ecumenical service in Colombo. The worship service was held at William Booth Memorial Hall of the Salvation Army, more..

'Have spoken to Rajapakse, leaders to bring about solution'

Jan 28 (CO) Art of Living leader Sri Sri Ravishankar today said he had spoken to Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapakse and other political leaders in the island nation to bring about a peaceful solution to the ethnic strife and expressed confidence that he would achieve his objective during his visit to the country. During the visit, dates for which are yet to be finalised, I will try to hold talks with senior Buddhist monks who are a dominant political force in Sri Lanka, more..

Remarks by U.S. Ambassador Robert Blake at the Food Relief Donation Ceremony

Jan 28 (USE) I am very pleased to be here today to represent the people and the Government of the United States of America at this ceremony. We have come together to demonstrate our continued concern for the welfare of those Sri Lankans who have been displaced and trapped by fighting in the North and desperately need all of our combined help to provide emergency relief during this difficult time. more..

Sri Lanka denies abuses, says probes nearly complete

Jan 28 (Reuters) Sri Lanka said on Tuesday it was doing its best to minimise civilian war casualties and that probes into incidents including the killing of workers for a French aid group were nearly complete. European Union officials told visiting Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama on Monday Sri Lanka needed to show it was implementing U.N. rights conventions for the EU to continue to offer it trade concessions. more..

U.N. staff and hospital under fire

Jan 28 (NYT) A glimpse of the hellish fate of civilians stuck in the epicenter of Sri Lanka’s war emerged this week, as the United Nations confirmed that staff members and their families had come under heavy shelling in what the government told them was a no-fire zone, and a government health official, also behind the front line, described artillery attacks on a hospital compound. For several weeks, fighting has intensified between government troops and rebels of an ethnic separatist group, the LTTE. more..

Severe economic blow says UNP and JVP

Jan 28 (BL) The UNP and JVP expressed their concern over the conflict between the Executive and the Judiciary. UNP MP Palitha Range Bandara claimed that the country will lose millions of dollars because of the government’s inflexibility. “We saved billions of rupees but because of the foolish deeds of the government, the CPC might need to pay back the local and foreign banks,” he said. Meanwhile, the JVP claimed that the government is taking the country towards financial doom by ignoring court orders. more..

A dead rat and a threat to shoot

Jan 28 (BL) Friday’s attack on Rivira Editor Upali Tennakoon shook me. That delivered the message that Lasantha Wickrematunge’s brutal slaying was not an isolated event. MTV, Lasantha and Upali reveal a pattern. It also portends the future scenario. If the present situation had prevailed in 1957, I would not have chosen journalism as my profession. Those were placid days, when an occasional murder, somewhere in the country, was big news, meriting page one display in newspapers. more..

Lanka has bigger problems than the global recession

Jan 28 (BL) Despite the various claims made by officials in government that Sri Lanka has not been affected by the global recession due to the implementation of proper policies, prominent economist Dr. Harsha de Silva stated emphatically that the recession has Sri Lanka in its clutches, adding that in order not to collapse we need to fix the fundamental issues affecting our economy first. more..

Dullas gets 500 telegrams

Jan 28 (BL) All Ceylon Railway Employees’ General Union (ACREGU) plans to send Transport Minister Dullas Alahaperuma 500 telegrams today, making 5 demands to be met immediately. The organization demands that the railway security services be paid overtime, given the same privileges as other railway staff, given the promotions that have been postponed for over 15 years, the regularizing of both new recruitments and the providing of new uniforms and shoes. more..

Sri Lanka assures India: To provide adequate security measures to civilians trapped in war zone

Jan 28 (AT) Issues of Civilians safety dominated the discussion held yesterday in Colombo between the Sri Lanka President and Indian External Affairs Minister. Sri Lanka President assured the visiting Indian Minister that Sri Lankan forces would provide the necessary safety precautions for civilians to leave through the demarcated safety zones to the Government controlled areas. more..

Minister utilizes ministry employees & resources for brother’s election campaign

Jan 28 (LT) S.B. Ratnayake, the brother of Minister of Livestock Development C.B. Ratnayake is a candidate contesting from Nuwaraeliya District to the Central PC election from the governing UPFA. The employees of Milko Company which comes under the Ministry of Livestock Development have complained in writing to the Commissioner of Elections that resources of the ministry are being used for the election campaign of the minister’s brother. more..

Exposition of Sacred Tooth Relic

Jan 28 (GDI) A public exposition of the Sacred Tooth Relic will be held in Kandy for 11 days from March 6 to 16 to invoke blessings on the country and its people. Diyawadana Nilame has taken this decision on the advice of the Mahanayake Theras of the Malwatte and Asgiriya Chapters. A special meeting chaired by the two Mahanayake Theras will be held in Kandy today (28) to discuss arrangements for the Sacred Relic exposition.

Rs.4200 million fraud from new driving license

Jan 28 (LT) More than a fraud of Rs.4200 million would occur through the new driving license to be introduced states Organization to probe frauds. The representatives of the organization states the new driving license would cost nearly Rs.2000 and no specific reasons have been stated for cancelling the existing driving license which costs only a fraction of the amount that cost the new one to be introduced. more..

'We’ll take stern trade union action if the issue of salary anomalies is not settled'

Jan 28 (LT) The period given for the President to settle the issue on salary anomalies affecting thousands of nurses will end on the 30th and if no satisfactory response to the promises made to his trade union is received stern trade union action would be taken says President of Government Services United Nurses Union Ven. Muruththetuwe Ananda Thero. The President has been apprised of the issue four months ago and more..

'Over 6,000 civilians in No War Zone'

Jan 28 (GDI) Over 6000 civilians have arrived to the No War Zone declared by the Government since January 22 , Disaster Management and Human Rights Ministry Secretary Prof. Rajiva Wijesinghe said. The Government declared a no war zone to facilitate civilians in un cleared areas to enter cleared areas and the United Nations has also admitted that civilians fleeing from un cleared areas are being targeted by LTTE terrorists, more..

Tamils protest 'genocide'

Jan 28 (TS) A loud and boisterous crowd demonstrated downtown yesterday, accusing the Sri Lankan government of atrocities against Tamils in the war-torn Asian nation. Between 400 and 500 protesters clogged St. Clair Ave., near Yonge St., calling for "justice" and protesting the deaths and woundings of civilians caught in the middle of the civil war between the Sri Lankan government and Tamil rebels. more..

Basil meets UN Secretary General

Jan 28 (GDI) Senior Presidential Advisor Basil Rajapaksa, MP met with UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon yesterday. He briefed the Secretary General on humanitarian measures taken by the Government and specific measures taken to protect civilians in the face of continued defiance by the LTTE of the calls by the Government and the Untied Nations to allow the people to move into the cleared areas. more..

Hundreds dead as Sri Lankan military creates humanitarian disaster

Jan 28 (wsws) The Sri Lankan military offensive aimed at destroying the separatist LTTE has produced a humanitarian crisis for hundreds of thousands of people trapped by the fighting. While journalists are barred from the front lines, reports are filtering out of hundreds of civilian deaths, with many more injured and in need of urgent medical help. After the capture of the last LTTE stronghold of Mullaithivu on Sunday, more..

Sri Lanka hopes for stronger bonds with Australia

Jan 28 (LP) Australia Day falls on the 26th of January which is an official national day of Australia, also know as the Anniversary Day/ Foundation Day. This day commemorates the arrival of the First Fleet in 1788, the unfurling of the British flag at Sydney Cove and the proclamation of British sovereignty over the eastern seaboard of Australia. Australia enjoys warm bilateral relations with Sri Lanka, more..

Govt. must protect civilians: UNP

Jan 28 (SAMN) In the wake of rising civilian casualties, Opposition Leader Ranil Wickremesinghe Tuesday called on the government to protect the war affected in the north and assured the party would continue to fight for human rights and a political solution. “We as the main opposition and a reasonable party, have highlighted shortcomings which led to the loss of both military and civilian lives and more..

Animal Welfare Bill to be gazetted

Jan 28 (SAMN) The Animal Welfare Bill (AWB) is in the process of been gazetted within two weeks.Once it is included in the order paper the AWB will be taken up in parliament for approval. Informed sources aid that since the governing legislation, the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Ordinance, No.13, 1907 is antiquated, limited in scope, provides for totally inadequate penalties and does not contain internationally recognised minimum standards of humane treatment of animals, more..

'Relocation to people’s choice'

Jan 28 (SAMN) Once the ongoing military operations are complete, civilians displaced from areas which were once under LTTE control will be relocated back to their original land or any other area of their choice, the government said Monday. Minister Keheliya Rambukwella said that clearing operations were currently underway in many areas in the north and once they captured the limited un-cleared areas from the Tigers, more..

Health sector on verge of crashing: TU

Jan 28 (SAMN) The Health Ministry’s failure to settle payments to the service providers would affect the entire health sector in the country, the All Ceylon Health Services’ Union (ACHSU) said. Assistant General Secretary, ACHSU, Gamini Kumarasinghe said ‘the inefficient Health Ministry management’ has failed to settle outstanding payments to the service providers which would have an impact on the hospitals in the country. more..

Situation report (Jan 28th) by SLA

Jan 28 (SLA) WANNI: AS the area still held by Tiger terrorists in the east of the A-9 Highway was getting further shrunk to less than 300 sq km, 58 and 59 Division, Task Force – II and Task Force – III troops have simultaneously begun to de-mine newly captured areas while confronting pockets of Tiger terrorists, reports originating from the WANNI theater of humanitarian operations told the Wednesday (28) morning. more..

'UPFA would record landslide victory'

Jan 28 (DN) UPFA General Secretary, Susil Premajayantha yesterday declared that the UPFA would record a landslide victory in all 40 constituencies of the five districts of the Central and the North Western Provinces, at the upcoming poll. At present the UPFA is conducting a well organised and dynamic election campaign in these two Provinces while political rallies are conducted under the patronage of the President, Prime Minister and Government Ministers. more..

I asked Mukherjee to bring Karunanidhi and Jayalalitha— President

Jan 28 (Island) A short while before Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee arrived in Colombo last evening, President Mahinda Rajapaksa told a gathering of newspaper editors at the Temple Trees that he had invited the visiting Indian FM to bring along both Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M. Karunanidhi and Opposition Leader J. Jayalalithaa so that they could see the situation in Sri Lanka for themselves. more..

Gota says forces men, cops among extortionists held

Jan 28 (Island) Several dozen extortionists who had terrorised wealthy businessmen, particularly those engaged in illegal money transferring operations, are in police custody. Among the arrested are security forces personnel, police and underworld activists. Some of them are believed to be connected to the LTTE. Defence Secretary Gotabhaya Rajapaksa told The Island that following a painstaking investigation, the police had managed to arrest the suspects. more..

Turning tanks into tractors

Jan 28 (DM) My dear Mahinda Aiya, as the king’s robes are tailored – with the Mullaitivu town also on the crown – for what may turn out to be something like a royal coronation party on Independence Day next Wednesday. Congratulations, celebrations and countrywide crackers came again with the announcement that the LTTE’s last stronghold was captured though this time the message to the nation was given not by the President but by the Army Commander Sarath Fonseka. more..

'Do not encourage communal hatred'

Jan 28 (DN) We are on the verge of uniting the entire country. A feeling of belonging to one nation is growing among people of all communities. That is why the national flag flutters everywhere including estate line rooms. Therefore, at this juncture please do not write to encourage communal hatred but use your pen to foster communal harmony, said President Mahinda Rajapaksa more..

Two Sri Lanka football players suspended

Jan 28 (DM) Two senior football players Rawmy Mohideen of Ratnam and Fazlur Rahaman of Renown have been suspended from the Sri Lanka national pool that’d preparing for the Prime Ministers Cup to be held in Nepal from March 4-15. Both players were suspended from the pool after they failed to attend training. Rajith Jayavilal and K.C.K. Lankeshwara of Air Force are the replacements for the side. more..

Outlaw groups linked to LTTE, Sri Lanka tells EU

Jan 28 (IANS) Sri Lankan Foreign Minister Rohitha Bogollagama has asked the European Union to include groups linked to the Tamil Tigers on its terrorist list, EuAsiaNews reported Wednesday. Bogollagama made the appeal to the 27-member European Union here Tuesday referring specifically to the Tamil Rehabilitation Organisation (TRO), allegedly a front for the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam (LTTE). more..

India ready to assist in reconstruction of North Sri Lanka

Jan 28 (UNI) India today conveyed its readiness to Sri Lanka to participate in the reconstruction of the Northern part of the island nation to overcome the ravages of war and said New Delhi would work together with Colombo on a development plan for these areas involving infrastructure and other support. External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, who is in Colombo on a two-day visit, held detailed discussions with Sri Lankan leaders, more..

Amid war, Sri Lanka pledges to respect 'safe zone'

Jan 28 (AP) Sri Lanka has pledged not to launch attacks inside a "safe zone" set up as a place of refuge for hundreds of thousands of civilians trapped by the fierce fighting between the military and Tamil rebels, the government said Wednesday. The announcement came after repeated reports of army forces firing artillery into the zone, which the government set up on the edge of rebel-held territory for ethnic Tamil civilians to seek shelter from the fighting. more..

'Banks cannot demand hedging payments'

Jan 28 (Reuters) Sri Lanka's central bank on Wednesday said oil hedging payments to five banks that would cost the state oil company at least $300 million cannot proceed despite a court ruling saying they should. 'The hedging transactions were materially affected and substantially tainted,' Central Bank Governor Ajith Nivard Cabraal told Reuters. more..

India plea for Sri Lanka civilians

Jan 28 (BBC) The Indian government has sought assurances from Colombo that civilians trapped by the fighting in Sri Lanka will be protected. India's appeal came as the Sri Lankan army continued its offensive against Tamil Tiger rebels in the north. Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee urged the government to expand safe zones where those displaced by the fighting were sheltering. He said that Sri Lanka had asked Indian Tamil politicians to visit the country. more..

Hard to achieve peace when 'they just want the Tamils ... wiped out'

Jan 28 (G&M) National Peace Council has long had two goals: first, a negotiated end to the country's 25-year-old civil war, and second, a political solution based on federalism. "I suppose the first goal is gone," Jehan Perera, the council chair, remarked with a bit of dry despair a few days ago. There seems to be little hope for a negotiated settlement, as the Sri Lankan armed forces claim to be within days of taking complete control of the island country, more..

Jayalalitha won’t visit Lanka; calls Karunanidhi a 'friend' of LTTE

Jan 28 (ZN) AIADMK leader J Jayalalaithaa rejected Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa’s invitation to visit the war-ravaged northern parts of his country, and instead asked her political opponent and Tamil Nadu Chief Minister M Karunanidhi to go there. Rajapaksa had on Tuesday, while meeting visiting Indian External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, invited Karunanidhi and Jayalalithaa to Sri Lanka to persuade the Tamil Tiger rebels to lay down arms and enter into the democratic mainstream. more..

Jayasuriya ton fails to stop India

Jan 28 (CI) Half-centuries from Gautam Gambhir, Suresh Raina and Mahendra Singh Dhoni outdid a superlative century from Sanath Jayasuriya as India successfully chased the highest total in a day game in Dambulla. The pursuit never got out of hand for India, despite the early fall of Sachin Tendulkar. Once Gambhir and Raina got going, the asking-rate went above five only towards the last ten overs. more..

Troops enter another Tiger village

Jan 28 (AFP) Sri Lankan forces on Wednesday fought their way into another village still held by the Tamil Tigers, an official said, as neighbouring India raised fears for civilians caught up in the war. Soldiers marched into the village of Visuamadu in the final phase of operations against the LTTE, a military official said. "Troops have entered Visuamadu. There's heavy fighting in the area," the official said. more..

Wounded Sri Lankans blocked from leaving war zone

Jan 28 (Reuters) The Tamil Tigers blocked a convoy carrying hundreds of wounded people from leaving the site of heavy fighting in Sri Lanka's north, the United Nations said on Wednesday. Skip related content India's foreign minister, after a brief trip to meet Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, pledged New Delhi's aid in post-war reconstruction and made no mention of a truce demanded by Indian Tamil politicians in the ruling coalition. more..

After 25 years, cornered LTTE faces deathly crisis

Jan 28 (IANS) Over a quarter century after Tamil militancy erupted in Sri Lanka, the once formidable Tamil Tigers are in dire straits, vanquished but not crushed by a rampaging military. Less than seven years ago, the LTTE and its founder leader Velupillai Prabhakaran looked like the masters of Sri Lanka's northeast after virtually bringing Colombo to its knees. more..

Mullativu: Closing Time

Jan 29 (GV) The trick is to grasp the main needs of the present while being able to see into the future, with its problems and prospects, while being aware that the choices we make today, in the here and now, will determine the shape of tomorrow. First things first: the Tigers have been almost completely overthrown and almost totally defeated, but not yet and not quite. The task is to stay focused and finish the job, resisting all external pressures from whichever quarter however exalted or powerful. more..

Attacks on the media, military successes and political settlement

Jan 29 (GV) End of January 2009. The political situation in Sri Lanka has seen considerable developments through 2008 and especially during the month of January 2009. The main focus today is the war against terrorism, also described as a ‘humanitarian’ mission, intended at defeating the LTTE and it military might. On the management of the military forces and elaboration of military strategy, the Sri Lankan government has achieved considerable feats, and more..

Sri Lanka, UN in anti-corruption effort

Jan 29 (LBO) Sri Lanka's government and the UNDP are to launch a programme to fight corruption, a UNDP statement said. The project, called 'Support Efforts and Action against Corruption in Sri Lanka' (SEAC) will be a three-year effort aimed at combating corruption and promoting accountability and transparency in public affairs, it said. The SEAC will work closely with Sri Lanka's Commission to Investigate Allegations of Bribery and Corruption. more..